The Forgotten Folklore of Richmond, VA
Editor's Note: For those of you who missed Quail Bell's 'Once Upon a Time II: Forgotten Folklore' fashion show on Oct. 4th, here's our MC's script. Learn a bit about some of Richmond, Virginia's history and urban legends.
Some say that the creature was Benjamin F. Mosby, a railroad fireman who had been shoveling coal when the collapse happened but real Richmonders know the truth. The cool wisp of air, the gapped door of Poole’s mausoleum…The Richmond Vampire still roams.
2. In this story, we find Alyssa, waking up screaming from a nightmare. Nursing a hangover, she goes about her morning routine piecing the dream together...names on headstones, wet wind, Hollywood Cemetery. The crypt of W.W. Poole calls to her.
Entering the cemetery, Alyssa suddenly feels she is being watched. Glancing at the decrepit Poole crypt, she sees fingers prying their way out from the rusty door. Alyssa gasps and the figure hisses. She hurries back to her car, pausing for one last look at the mausoleum, seeing something snake out.
After making it back to her apartment, she retires to bed. Letting her eyes linger on the corner, she sees a smear of a figure as it approaches her. She pleads for it to leave but her hand is grasped by something, wet with blood and loose flesh – Alyssa holds hands with a spectre.
3. Wrexham Hall, nestled in picturesque Chesterfield, seems a plain enough house – white siding and brick front steps. Yet this is all a façade. A spirit lurks here, a Lady in Red.
When Wrexham Hall's owner Archibald Walthall died, he left his house to his daughters, Polly and Susannah. The ladies sold the house, specifying that the family grave plot be undisturbed. This wish was unheeded, and the Lady in Red appeared, sighted on the front porch. Many think it is the shade of Susannah Whitehall, searching for her family graveyard in order to rest her weary soul.
Now heard but not seen, The Lady in Red makes herself known with footsteps on the stairs, locking and unlocking doors and rocking the rocking chairs in the night, making an eerie time even more unnerving.
4. In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” Prince Prospero and his friends abscond to the countryside to escape the disease that’s ravaging the area. Six months into the extended stay, Prince Prospero throws a fabulous masked ball while the Red Death rages on outside the walls of the small oasis. The irregular and bizarre abbey is made up of several colorful rooms and two oddities – one white and one black. The ebony room is draped and furnished all in black and houses a massive clock.
As it strikes midnight, out emerges a tall and gaunt creature, dressed for the grave, mask resembling a stiff corpse. Stalking amongst the revelers, the intruder approaches Prince Prospero, who in fear and confusion, drops his dagger and falls on it. The courtiers rush to the intruder and find that he is not in costume. The Red Death strikes and the clock ticks no more.
5. In this story, the narrator leaves The Evil Dead screening at the Byrd Theatre to retrieve his brother Joey. Early, the narrator stops in New York Deli for a quick bite to eat. During the meal, he sees commotion outside, and someone slams into the restaurant's door, leaving behind a smear of blood. Worried about Joey, the narrator heads up the street to One Eyed Jacques, witnessing death-like hordes of people, shuffling along the streets.
Once Joey arrives at the store, they identify the bizarre situation: zombies. Armed with a baseball bat and a samurai sword, they escape out the back door. In the alley, they’re approached by two zombies, one on each side. Making quick work of them, they finally get to the car. Seeing a giant fireball go up into the sky, they head out of Richmond and towards the unknown.
6. Over the years, many once sacred Native American places have been destroyed in the name of progress. Ironically, Pocahontas Parkway, one of these advances, bears an iconic name of a people's land it has paved over. Less than a decade ago, a truck driver reported seeing three Native American figures near a toll plaza. When they mysteriously disappeared in front of his eyes, he knew he had seen the restless dead.
Reporters and police officers explored the area of the sightings one night, between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., a well-known “witching” hour. They didn't see anything, but what they heard was enough to make them believers: howling dogs, drum beats, and supernatural chants filled the air. So beware the path of the vengeful lest you find yourself a part of the ceremony.